New Rules Govern Blood Donations at Schools

New Rules Govern Blood Donations at Schools

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LAYTON, Utah (AP) -- School blood drives are operating under rules adopted statewide after a mother objected to the questions her child was asked.

Friday marked the first blood drive at Layton High and the fifth in the state since the new regulations went into effect March 5.

Students now receive a sealed envelope that contains a permission slip and a sample of questions that will be asked of donors.

All students who give blood must have a permission slip signed by a parent or guardian and present it when they donate.

All three major blood-collecting agencies in Utah modified practices to address the mother's concern about minors being asked sexually explicit questions without parental consent.

Diane Ogborn, 37, of Orem complained to the state Board of Education in January that the young donors were being asked about sex between males or with persons who receive drugs or who get money in return for sex.

She also complained that the information was permanently attached to the person's donor file.

Officials at blood-collecting agencies said the questions are necessary to have a safe blood supply, but they also recognized Ogborn's concern for getting prior consent.

"We wanted to address the concerns," said Judy Christensen, communication director for the American Red Cross blood services department.

The Red Cross gets about 5,000 units of blood -- roughly 5 percent of Utah's supply -- from high school donation drives, according to organization representatives. During the 2004-05 school year, Students from 45 high schools donated blood.

Christensen said she doesn't expect the new requirements to affect the number of students who donate blood. "It's not a great concern," she said.

The Red Cross has 21 more blood drives scheduled this school year, bringing its total since the change to 26.

At Layton High, Shirlee Noble said she was worried about how the changes would affect the donor turnout. Noble is the adviser of Health Science Students of America, which sponsored Friday's drive.

Noble had more than 275 students sign up for the drive, and 141 useable units of blood were collected.

Layton High has a history of success with getting students to donate blood. Christensen said the school ranked No. 4 in the amount of blood donated by students last year with 187 units. Orem High School students gave the most with 314 units.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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